Ryan Lambert

  • Sad truth about NHL playoff bubble teams (Trending Topics)

    Ryan Lambert at Puck Daddy 14 hrs ago

    With the trade deadline a little more than a month away and many teams already starting to make roster moves that will impact their competitiveness down the stretch (if they had any to begin with, that is), much of the attention in the league turns to who is and is not in playoff contention. 

    These “bubble teams” may be within, say, four, six, eight points of a postseason spot with 30-something games to go. That often leads to both fans and team officials feeling as though they are very much in the race for that final position, and want to push all-in to pursue that end. If that includes trading picks and prospects so they can win the final seed in their divisional playoff group, or a wild card, then so be it. That's the price of doing business when the goal is to make the playoffs.

    And leaving aside the absurdity of the egalitarian dream that “once you make the playoffs, anything can happen” — while big underdogs do occasionally PDO their way to a Cup final or even a title, the end result of the playoffs far more often than not is one of a handful of elite teams actually walking away with the trophy — one has to wonder whether this is, necessarily, a good idea.

    Season

    Team

    3

    7

  • Puck Daddy Power Rankings: Stamkos to Toronto, Zac Rinaldo, All-Star Game dud

    Ryan Lambert at Puck Daddy 2 days ago

    [Author's note: Power rankings are usually three things: Bad, wrong, and boring. You typically know just as well as the authors which teams won what games against who and what it all means, so our moving the Red Wings up four spots or whatever really doesn't tell you anything you didn't know. Who's hot, who's not, who cares? For this reason, we're doing a power ranking of things that are usually not teams. You'll see what I mean.]    

    8. Zac Rinaldo, why don't you come to your senses?

    So Zac Rinaldo got eight games for hitting Kris Letang from behind and more or less gloating about it afterward, as though eight games is going to serve as any sort of deterrent to the kind of behavior that makes him so corrosive to the idea that this is or ever was a game for classy professional athletes who don't want to severely hurt each other.

    That guileless smirk on his face, and his, “We won the game, didn't we?” justification for his actions after the fact probably didn't sit well with anyone at league office. Next time, they might actually have the courage of their convictions to throw the book at him.

    7. The Okposo injury

  • What We Learned: Our 30-team second half preview; who wins the East?

    Ryan Lambert at Puck Daddy 3 days ago

      (Hello, this is a feature that will run through the entire season and aims to recap the weekend’s events and boils those events down to one admittedly superficial fact or stupid opinion about each team. Feel free to complain about it.)

    As we begin the second half (and really it's more like the second two-fifths, but don't worry about it), there are a lot of questions facing a lot of teams in the league. The biggest one is, “What does the future hold?”

    Most teams in the league have about 35 games or so remaining on their schedules and some serious decisions to make as the trade deadline approaches over the next six weeks, we're almost certainly going to learn a lot about the quality of various teams around the league.

    The jockeying out West is mainly between Calgary, San Jose and Los Angeles, three teams fighting for two spots, and while LA's the underdog in that race (46.8 percent) you still have to believe a lot more in their chances to pull things together than Calgary's, especially because the reigning champions trail the possession-deficient challengers by a single point in the standings (due entirely to their having gone 1-7 in shootouts this year).

  • NCAA Hockey 101: An unexpected party for Bemidji State

    Ryan Lambert at Puck Daddy 3 days ago

    (Ed. Note: Ryan Lambert is our resident NCAA Hockey nut, and we decided it’s time to unleash his particular brand of whimsy on the college game every week. So NCAA HOCKEY 101 will run every Tuesday on Puck Daddy. Educate yo self.)  

    Last weekend's North Star College Cup — or, let's be honest, Minnesota Beanpot — featured four teams this year, all playing at different levels.

    Clearly top of the heap and the heavy favorite was No. 1 Minnesota State, riding high in its admittedly weak conference and brushing aside nearly all foes this season with relative ease. They are one of the most dominant teams in college hockey over the last three years or so.

    A little farther back, you'd have to say, were No. 7 Minnesota Duluth and No. 17 Minnesota. Both very good on paper, both having a little more trouble than you'd probably expect, and in this regard Minnesota might have even been farther back in terms of public perception (and certainly the polls, which as always are stupid) if not actual performance. Personally, I prefer the Gophers to the Bulldogs, but people are always going to look at “wins!” as the ultimate arbiter of team quality.

    Why is Lowell slipping?

  • Canadian dollar crash should have NHL teams in panic (Trending Topics)

    Ryan Lambert at Puck Daddy 7 days ago

    Over the last several years, the NHL's salary cap has been increasingly very steadily, about 8.5 percent per season on average. This was a result of a number of conditions coming together at once.

    The league started doing more marquee events like outdoor games that brought in a lot of money from sponsors, and it also signed new television deals that likewise significantly increased revenues. Further, lots more people started going to games, especially because cornerstone franchises spent the last several years improving.

    But most important of all was the fact that the Canadian dollar spent a lot of the time from 2006 to present doing pretty well in comparison with its American counterpart. 

    The problem with the league's $73 million estimate was also a best-case scenario:

    How closely tied are cap increases to the value of the Canadian dollar? Have a look (but please keep in mind the NHLPA used to use its 5 percent cap escalator regularly):

    Season

    % increase from previous year

    2006-07

    12.8

    $0.898

    14.3

  • Puck Daddy Power Rankings: Dan Carcillo, Winter Classic whining, and blowing up Leafs

    Ryan Lambert at Puck Daddy 9 days ago

    [Author's note: Power rankings are usually three things: Bad, wrong, and boring. You typically know just as well as the authors which teams won what games against who and what it all means, so our moving the Red Wings up four spots or whatever really doesn't tell you anything you didn't know. Who's hot, who's not, who cares? For this reason, we're doing a power ranking of things that are usually not teams. You'll see what I mean.]

    6. Employing Dan Carcillo

    Dan Carcillo has played 421 career games, which isn't a bad number for a guy who's only 29 years old. 

    Dan Carcillo has also faced supplementary discipline 12 different times in his career, whether that was a fine or a suspension. Nine of them were the latter. That's an incident that rises to the level of requiring supplementary discipline every 35 games or so. And that is an insane number for someone of any age.

    So let's go down the checklist on Carcillo: 1) You know he's going to try to put someone in the hospital about twice a season on average. 2) He sucks at hockey. 3) He takes up a roster spot a team like Chicago could use for say, I dunno, Teuvo Teravainen.

    Hmmm......

  • NCAA Hockey 101: Penn State’s moronic decision on Joe Paterno tribute

    Ryan Lambert at Puck Daddy 10 days ago

    (Ed. Note: Ryan Lambert is our resident NCAA Hockey nut, and we decided it’s time to unleash his particular brand of whimsy on the college game every week. So NCAA HOCKEY 101 will run every Tuesday on Puck Daddy. Educate yo self.)  

    If you were paying attention to the news on Friday, you might have seen that the NCAA reinstated the 111 wins it stripped from Joe Paterno after he got caught up in that whole “turned a blind eye to the sexual abuse of a whole hell of a lot of children” thing.

    Well, the only people who were happy about that were, coincidentally, those in the Happy Valley, and as a consequence that led to some tone-deaf idiocy from people who think winning in football is more important than enabling sexual abuse of children. That, bizarrely, includes the Penn State hockey team adding little “409” stickers to the backs of their helmets as a means of commemorating an awful man who coached a lot of football games well, a long time ago.

    “It was a group decision, and certainly there are things to talk about,” he said.

    Hmm, well that's not an answer at all.

    Guess what: She was right the first time, and y'all are ghoulish for saying otherwise.

    A kind word for Huntsville

  • What We Learned: Did Marc Staal deserve his new NY Rangers deal?

    Ryan Lambert at Puck Daddy 11 days ago

    (Hello, this is a feature that will run through the entire season and aims to recap the weekend’s events and boils those events down to one admittedly superficial fact or stupid opinion about each team. Feel free to complain about it.)

    Hockey continues to have a weird fetish for defensive defensemen, and it's a market inefficiency that's difficult to understand.

    Remember this summer when Brooks Orpik signed that five-year deal with Washington that would inexplicably pay him $5.5 million per? And how everyone laughed? Those contracts are handed out more frequently than you think. Such is the case with Marc Staal, who signed a 6-year, $34.2-million deal with the New York Rangers on Sunday.

    The Rangers as a whole seem to overvalue grit and toughness, which explains why Tanner Glass has played rather a healthy portion of their games this season despite the fact that he's one of the worst players in the NHL and his only value comes in the form of his waning pugilistic prowess. Staal does more than that, obviously, but his actual on-ice value is not, unfortunately, what it's perceived to be.

    Detroit Red Wings: Decent goal from Tomas Tatar for his 20th(!?) of the year.

  • Are the Bruins right to keep David Pastrnak? (Trending Topics)

    Ryan Lambert at Puck Daddy 14 days ago

    On Thursday night the Bruins played the New York Rangers and David Pastrnak was in the lineup. Of course he was. 

    In the Bruins' previous two games, he'd scored four of the team's seven goals, and put nine shots on net, mostly playing with countryman David Krejci and a resurgent Milan Lucic. The Bruins won those two games, climbed back into a somewhat more comfortable playoff spot (they entered last night three points up on Florida, albeit with three extra games played). During the first intermission, Peter Chiarelli told reporters the Bruins intended to keep Pastrnak for the remainder of the season, and Pastrnak finished the game with just one shot on goal.

    First, let's get past the idea that Pastrnak is all of a sudden the reason the Bruins are winning. Before they recalled him on Jan. 8 (a win against New Jersey in which he didn't record a point but had four shots on goal against the Devils' top line and defensive pairing), the Bruins had beaten the Penguins in overtime, earned points in overtime or shootout losses to Carolina, Ottawa, and Toronto, and beaten the Red Wings.

    • David Pastrnak (Jan. 10 and 13, 2015)

    • Johnny Gaudreau (Dec. 22 and 27, 2014)

  • Puck Daddy Power Rankings: Colorado's comeback; NHL All-Star snubs; P.K. Subban

    Ryan Lambert at Puck Daddy 16 days ago

    [Author's note: Power rankings are usually three things: Bad, wrong, and boring. You typically know just as well as the authors which teams won what games against who and what it all means, so our moving the Red Wings up four spots or whatever really doesn't tell you anything you didn't know. Who's hot, who's not, who cares? For this reason, we're doing a power ranking of things that are usually not teams. You'll see what I mean.]    

    7. The CORSI Hockey League

    The Leafs fired Randy Carlyle because he was a bad coach in pretty much every way, including his total inability to prevent his team from getting outshot pretty much every damn night of his tenure.

    But since the coaching change, the Leafs have won just one of their three games. And they've only outshot their opponents twice (and lost by one — ONE! — the other time). Pretty clear what's going on here: Only giving up 65 shots over three games, or a little less than 22 per, is actually bad.

    Because look if you want to beat good teams you have to both outshoot them AND outscore them. That's hockey, baby! Love it or leave it!

    6.  Counting on an Avs resurgence

    2. Jersey retirements